Tag Archives: LS18

Day 18

Day 18 concludes Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra, and begins Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices.

Having last month learned the second thing the Bodhisattva should approach, we repeat in gāthās.

Thereupon the World-Honored One, wishing to repeat what he had said, sang in gāthās:

A Bodhisattva who wishes
To expound this sūtra without fear
In the evil world
After [my extinction]
Should perform proper practices
And approach proper things.

He should keep away
From kings, princes and ministers,
From other government officials,
From players of dangerous sports,
From caṇḍālas, from heretics,
And from aspirants for the teaching of Brahman.

He should not approach arrogant people,
Or the scholars who are deeply attached
To the Three Stores of the Lesser Vehicle,
Or the bhikṣus
Who violate the precepts,
Or self-appointed Arhats,
Or the bhikṣunīs/
Who like to laugh playfully.

He should not approach the upāsikās
Who are attached to the five desires
Or who seek in their present life
The extinction[-without-remainder].

When they come to him
With good intent
In order to hear
About the enlightenment of the Buddha,
He should expound the Dharma to them
Without fear,
But should not wish to receive
Anything from them.

He should not approach
Or make friends with a widow
Or with an unmarried woman
Or with a eunuch.

He should not approach
Slaughterers or cooks
Or those who kill for profit,
Such as hunters or fishermen.

He should not approach
Butchers
Or procurers
Of prostitutes.

He should not approach
Dangerous wrestlers
Or makers of various amusements
Or immoral women.

He should not expound the Dharma
To a woman in an enclosed place.
When he expounds the Dharma to her,
He should not laugh playfully.

When he goes to a village to beg for food,
He should take a Bhikṣu with him.
If he cannot find a Bhikṣu [to take with him],
He should think of the Buddha with all his heart.

These are the proper practices he should perform
And the proper things he should approach.
He should expound the Dharma peacefully
Only after doing all this!

See Peaceful Practices of the Mouth

Peaceful Practices of the Mouth

Bodhisattvas are to choose words carefully and make no mistakes in expounding the Dharma. There are four points:

  1. A Bodhisattva should not point out the faults of other sutras or their adherents.
  2. He or she should not despise other preachers of the Dharma.
  3. He or she should not speak of either the merits or the demerits of other preachers, and should not mention “hearers” by name when criticizing their teachings or even when prais ing them.
  4. He or she should not feel hostile toward anybody, and should freely answer any questions put to him. When asked difficult questions, the Bodhisattva should not answer by the teachings of the Lesser Vehicle, but always refer to the Great Vehicle, and so lead people to the “knowledge of the equality and differences of all things” (p. 216).
Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 18

Day 18 concludes Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra, and begins Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices.

Having last month learned the first peaceful practices, we learn the second thing he should approach.

“He should always make it a pleasure to sit in dhyāna. He should live in a retired place and concentrate his mind. Mañjuśrī! [A retired place] is the first thing he should approach.

“The Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas also should know the following truth. All things are insubstantial. They are as they are. Things are not perverted. They do not move. They do not go. They do not turn. They have nothing substantial just as the sky has not. They are inexplicable. They are not born. They do not appear. They do not rise. They are nameless. They are formless. They have no property. They are immeasurable and limitless. They have no obstacle or hindrance. He should see all this. Things can exist only by dependent origination. Only perverted people say, ‘Things are permanent and pleasant.’ This truth is the second thing he should approach.”

See Unique Qualities of the Lotus Sutra

Unique Qualities of the Lotus Sutra

[I]n most sutras, the Introductory and Propagation parts are short and sweet, serving merely structural functions to complete the whole. In contrast, the Lotus Sutra contains a detailed introduction in addition to a general preface. This detailed introduction, unique to the Lotus Sutra, presents teachings that foreshadow what will be expounded in the following chapters. Secondly, the Lotus Sutra is structured as if the conclusion incorporates the main part. For example, after Chapter Ten, “The Teacher of the Dharma,” most chapters in the second division deal with the matter of keeping and propagating the Sutra in future worlds, which is, in fact, the major characteristic of a conclusion.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 18

Day 18 concludes Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra, and begins Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices.

Having last month begun the explanation of peaceful practices, we learn about the first practice.

“First, he should perform proper practices, approach proper things, and then e pound this sūtra to all living beings.

“Mañjuśrī! What are the proper practices the Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should perform? He should be patient, mild and meek. He should not be rash, timorous, or attached t anything. He should see things as they are. He should not be attached to his nonattachment to anything. Nor should he be attached to his seeing thing as they are. These are the proper practices the Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should perform.

“What are the proper things the Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should approach? He should not approach kings, princes, ministers or other government directors. He should not approach heretics, aspirants for the teaching of Brahman, Nirgraṇṭhas, writer of worldly literature, writers of non-Buddhist songs of praise, Lokāyatas or Anti-Lokāyatas. He should not approach players of dangerous sports such as boxers or wrestlers. He should not approach naṭas or other various amusement-makers. He should not approach caṇḍālas, boar-keepers, shepherds, poulterers, dog-keepers, hunters, fishermen, or other people who do evils for their livelihood. When they come to him, he should expound the Dharma to them, but should not wish [to receive anything from them]. He should not approach those who seek Śrāvakahood, be they bhikṣus, bhikṣunīs, upāsakās or upāsikās. He should not exchange greeting with them. He should not . stay with them in the same monastery, promenade or lecture-hall. When they come to him, he should expound the Dharma to them according to their capacities, but should not wish [to receive anything from them]. Mañjuśrī! The Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should not expound the Dharma to a woman with a desire for her. He should not wish to look at her. When he enters the house of others, he should not talk with a little girl, an unmarried woman or a widow. He should not approach or make friend with anyone of the five kinds of eunuchs. He should not enter the house of others alone. lf he must enter it alone for some rea on, he should think of the Buddha with all his heart. When he expounds the Dharma to a woman, he should not laugh with his teeth visible to her. He should not expose his breast to her. He should not be friendly with her even for the purpose of expounding the Dharma to her. Needless to say, he should not be so for other purposes. He should not wish to keep young disciples, śramaṇeras or children. He should not wish to have the same teacher with them.

See Peaceful Practices of the Body

Peaceful Practices of the Body

This means acting always with restraint. The Buddha divides these peaceful practices into two parts: “performing proper practices” and “approaching proper things. ”

The first means doing good deeds. Bodhisattvas should always practice the virtue of patience, be mild and gentle, and see things as they truly are.

The second, “approach proper things,” indicates how a Bodhisattva should relate to people—that is, his sphere of associations. The Sutra delineates ten points:

The Bodhisattva should always be willing to teach such people if they ask him, but he should not seek them out or ask for any payment from them. He or she should take pleasure in meditation and, in a quiet place, practice to control the mind (p. 211).

This is the first way to approach proper things. The Buddha also teaches a second way to approach proper things: the Bodhisattva should understand that all things are insubstantial, inexplicable, formless, not born, and without property. “Things can exist only by dependent origination” (p. 212).

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 18

Day 18 concludes Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra, and begins Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices.

Having last month concluded Chapter 13, we begin Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices.

Thereupon Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas, the Son of the King of the Dharma, said to the Buddha:

“World-Honored One! The e Bodhisattvas are extraordinarily rare. They made a great vow to protect, keep, read, recite and expound this Sūtra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma in the evil world after your extinction because they are following you respectfully. World-Honored One! How should an [ordinary] Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas expound this sūtra in the evil world after [your extinction]?”

The Buddha said to him:

“A Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas who wishes to expound this sūtra in the evil world after [ my extinction) should practice four sets of things.

See Peaceful Practices

Peaceful Practices

The previous chapter has explained that anyone who preaches and spreads the Lotus Sutra in the future, the Age of Degeneration, must have stamina. Such a person must resolve to spread the Sutra even though evil people, known as the Three Strong Enemies, will appear in his or her path to trouble or even persecute him. This way of propagation, by confronting the Three Strong Enemies head-on, may strain the preacher’s relationships with others. By way of contrast, there is another practical way to spread the Dharma, with an attitude that is calmer and more relaxed. This attitude is called, “Peaceful Practices.”

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra

Day 18

Day 18 concludes Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra, and begins Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices.

Having last month heard eighty billion nayuta Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas offer to spread the dharma in gāthās, we conclude Chapter 13.

They will despise us,
Saying to us [ironically],
“You are Buddhas.”
But we will endure all these despising words.

There will be many dreadful things
In the evil world of the kalpa of defilements.
Devils will enter the bodies [of those bhikṣus]
And cause them to abuse and insult us.

We will wear the armor of endurance
Because we respect and believe you.
We will endure all these difficulties
In order to expound this sūtra.

We will not spare even our lives.
We treasure only unsurpassed enlightenment.
We will protect and keep the Dharma in the future
If you transmit it to us.

World-Honored One, know this!
Evil bhikṣus in the defiled world will not know
The teachings that you expounded with expedients
According to the capacities of all living beings.

They will speak ill of us,
Or frown at us,
Or drive us out of our monasteries
From time to time.
But we will endure all these evils
Because we are thinking of your command.

When we hear of a person who seeks the Dharma
In any village or city,
We will visit him and expound the Dharma [to him]
If you transmit it to us.

Because we are your messengers,
We are fearless before multitudes.
We will expound the Dharma.
Buddha, do not worry.

We vow all this to you
And also to the Buddhas who have come
From the worlds of the ten quarters.
Buddha, know what we have in our minds!

The Daily Dharma from Aug. 9, 2017, offers this:

We will wear the armor of endurance
Because we respect and believe you.
We will endure all these difficulties
In order to expound this sūtra.

Medicine-King Bodhisattva and Great-Eloquence Bodhisattva, along with their attendants, declare these verses to the Buddha in Chapter Thirteen of the Lotus Sutra. The Buddha had asked previously who would teach the Lotus Sūtra after the Buddha’s death. These Bodhisattvas declare their aspirations to maintain their practice of the Buddha Dharma in the face of unimaginable difficulties. We may believe that this practice will lead to permanent comfort and pleasure. But knowing that we are in a world that is constantly changing, we realize that any difficulty is temporary, and that the way to a beneficial outcome may only go through difficulties. This knowledge and faith in the Buddha’s teachings increases our capacity to be a beneficial force in this world of conflict.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com

Day 18

Day 18 concludes Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra, and begins Chapter 14, Peaceful Practices.

Having last month heard eighty billion nayuta Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas offer to spread the dharma, we repeat in gāthās.

Thereupon the Bodhisattvas sang in Gathas with one voice:

Do not worry!
We will expound this sūtra
In the dreadful, evil world
After your extinction.

Ignorant people will speak ill of us,
Abuse us, and threaten us
With swords or sticks.
But we will endure all this.

Some bhikṣus in the evil world will be cunning.
They will be ready to flatter others.
Thinking that they have obtained what they have not,
Their minds will be filled with arrogance.

Some bhikṣus will live in aranyas or retired places,
And wear patched pieces of cloth.
Thinking that they are practicing the true Way,
They will despise others.

Being attached to worldly profits,
They will expound the Dharma to men in white robes.
They will be respected by the people of the world
As the Arhats who have the six supernatural powers.

They will have evil thoughts.
They will always think of worldly things.
Even when they live in aranyas,
They will take pleasure in saying that we have faults.

They will say of us,
“Those bhikṣus are greedy for worldly profits.
Therefore, they are expounding
The teachings of heretics.
They made that sūtra by themselves
In order to deceive the people of the world.
They are expounding that sūtra
Because they wish to make a name for themselves.”

In order to speak ill of us, in order to slander us
In the midst of the great multitude,
In order to say that we are evil,
They will say to kings, ministers and brahmanas,
And also to householders and other bhikṣus,
“They have wrong views.
They are expounding
The teachings of heretics.”
But we will endure all this
Because we respect you.

The Daily Dharma from Aug. 9, 2017, offers this:

Medicine-King Bodhisattva and Great-Eloquence Bodhisattva, along with their attendants, declare these verses to the Buddha in Chapter Thirteen of the Lotus Sutra. The Buddha had asked previously who would teach the Lotus Sūtra after the Buddha’s death. These Bodhisattvas declare their aspirations to maintain their practice of the Buddha Dharma in the face of unimaginable difficulties. We may believe that this practice will lead to permanent comfort and pleasure. But knowing that we are in a world that is constantly changing, we realize that any difficulty is temporary, and that the way to a beneficial outcome may only go through difficulties. This knowledge and faith in the Buddha’s teachings increases our capacity to be a beneficial force in this world of conflict.

The Daily Dharma is produced by the Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community. To subscribe to the daily emails, visit zenzaizenzai.com